Author: Jill Mansell
My synopsis: This is the story of Cleo, a 20-something living in Channing Hill and working as a chauffeur. Happily ensconsed in a new relationship with Will, she is upset when her childhood nemesis, Johnny LaVenture, arrives back in the neighborhood and brings up bad school memories.
It isn't long after his arrival that Cleo's life starts to fall apart, beginning with Will and the secret life he has kept from Cleo. Cleo's brother-in-law Tom, has also been keeping a secret from Abbie, Cleo's sister and his wife. When Abbie discovers clues to why Tom has been acting dodgy, she reacts very uncharacteristically for her and does something she soon regrets. Fortunately Tom's secret was not as bad as Abbie thought, but she cannot change what has now happened.
Cleo, now single, keeps running into Johnny and doesn't understand why Johnny actually seems to be a nice guy. She keeps remembering the brat he was in school and is confused when she realizes that she seems to be falling for the guy. Before she can make a fool of herself, he hooks back up with an ex, Honor, and soon is seen all around town with Honor on his arm.
Then there is her best friend Ash, who is besotted with Fia, the new cook at the local pub. But for all the charm and wit he exudes as a local morning dj - when he is around a woman he likes, his words fail him and he comes off as a complete jerk.
My thoughts: I really liked Cleo. She is honest and funny and loyal, but isn't afraid to stick her nose where it doesn't always belong and gets it out of joint once in a while as well. Ash is hilarious as her friend the way he kicks himself when ever he freezes up around Fia. I love the way that Ms. Mansell writes and brings life to her characters. They have feelings and assumptions and thoughts that are real - some of which I have had myself. I can totally relate to feeling insecure like Ash and even Cleo, of hating the feelings that childhood memories evoke, and of making random mistakes due to assumptions.
For anyone who has ever had their heart broke, have been in a relationship, or is secretly yearning for the cook at the local bar, you should read this romantic comedy. It may not solve your problem, but it will definitely put a smile on your face.
~I received a complimentary copy of this book from Sourcebooks in exchange for my review.~
Publisher/Publication Date: Sourcebooks, Oct 2010